San Francisco chefs Jeffrey Saad (host of United Tastes of America) and Cortney Burns (Bar Tartine) turn up the heat with host Pete Evans, as they create a feast laden with spices from around the world. Saad goes on an expedition to Pacific Heights shop Spice Ace, where galangal, star anise, and cardamom are just three of the hundred seasonings on offer. And, like Charlie at the Chocolate Factory, the chefs get up close and personal with chocolate making (and pick up some dark-chocolate wafers for baking) at the bean-to-bar producer TCHO. When the cooking begins, Saad whips up a Thai shrimp curry with galangal, Evans nods to Bali with his roast chicken with Indonesian spices and kaffir lime leaves, and Burns infuses her TCHO chocolate with the flavors of Latin America and Southeast Asia in a chile-infused crémeux with forbidden rice and poached cherries.

A word from Pete…

I think all chefs and food lovers have a soft spot for San Fran. I love the diversity and the push for organic and sustainable practices.  Cortney Burns and Jeffrey Saad definitely know their town, and today was all about spice. We decided on a menu that would highlight cooking’s greatest secret…the use of intoxicating ingredients that turn humble ingredients into the sublime, with little fuss. Jeffrey played with galangal and shrimp to create a dish that anyone could master to rave reviews.

Meanwhile, Cortney’s turning TCHO’s (a San Francisco chocolate maker) chocolate into a spice enhanced dessert with chili, ginger and other exotic/tantalizing spices from this amazing planet we share. And lastly, I thought I would take the humble roast chicken and give it a makeover with an Indonesian spice mix of turmeric, ginger, garlic, chili and kaffir lime.

I hope this episode excites you and shows the many possibilities of using spice in your cooking. Apart from the aromas you will create, spices have such wonderful medicinal properties to them.